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From Skynet to ChatGPT: AI and Its Investment Implications

If you were to poll strangers on what comes to mind when they hear the term AI (artificial intelligence), I suspect the two most likely answers would be Skynet or ChatGPT. The generative chat program launched in 2022 seems to have drawn the most mainstream attention to AI applications since Arnold Schwarzenegger promised he’d be back. But the history of AI tools is far older than ChatGPT, although less dramatic than its depiction in 1990s science fiction films. And from an investment standpoint, artificial intelligence pales in comparison to the informational content of the market’s AI—aggregate intelligence.

ChatGPT is but a recent example of AI. One watershed moment came in 1997 when the machine named Deep Blue became the first computer to secure victory in a match against a chess grandmaster. In the mid-2000s, IBM researchers created the Watson computer to compete with star Jeopardy! contestants, ultimately defeating two of the show’s most decorated past champions. And how many of us routinely dispense orders to, and receive suggestions from, Siri or Alexa?

The common thread among these examples is that each represents a tool that processes and organizes data to identify patterns and summarize information or make suggestions. This type of interaction with AI has grown to permeate our everyday lives. Have you noticed your phone offer an unsolicited ETA for your commute when you get in your car? Does your text app suggest grammar revisions based on the context of your overall message? Congrats—you’re an AI user, even if you’ve never opened a ChatGPT session.


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